As RedState has covered (see here and here), Kristi Noem is in a bit of hot water with Republican voters over a decision to not sign a recently passed state ban on biological men competing in women’s sports. Noem sent the bill back with suggestions that some are alleging water the bill down too much. There’s also worry that the South Dakota governor is bending the knee to corporate interests that have levied threats behind the scenes.
This story has really broken out over the last day, and I’m seeing a lot of disapproval, including from people who I would have formerly considered Noem fans. The big question now is whether she’s sunk her 2024 chances before the campaign even started?
What a huge mistake ~ I’m talked to several cons who have written her off.
You can’t betray the base. Period.
Gov. Kristi Noem 'Misusing Her Executive Power' in Sending Back Bill Banning Trans Athletes from Women Sports https://t.co/7BwInxtUaL
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 20, 2021
The System makes it so easy, appealing, and profitable to comply. The System makes it miserable to rebel.
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) March 20, 2021
Another detail about this that doesn’t cut in Noem’s favor is that Amazon may be playing a factor. The local press has reported that there are worries that the tech giant could pull their support for a facility in Sioux Falls. If that turns out to be the case, Republicans are not going to take too kindly to bending the knee to Jeff Bezo’s ultra-woke corporation.
There are a lot of variables to consider here. I understand that Noem has to do what’s best for her state. Part of that is protecting investment in South Dakota’s economy, including attracting outfits like Amazon and the NCAA. Yet, I think when push comes to shove, there have to be lines drawn in the sand, and Noem must realize that.
There is nothing that turns Republican voters off more than politicians bending the knee to woke interests in a feeble attempt to garner favor. It’s not that logical reasons don’t exist for what Noem did here, but if standing up and stopping boys from dominating women’s sports isn’t worthy of a fight, then what is? Social issues matter to the GOP base, and once you betray that base, there’s no success to be had in the future.
In the grand scheme of things, this individual bill may not be that big of an issue. Rather, it’s the perception being put out here by Noem that is going to haunt her. If she can’t be counted on for this, can she be counted on for other priorities when the going gets tough? That’s the question a lot of Republican voters will be asking going forward, and it’s why her chances have likely taken a hit.
As to my personal opinion of whether Noem is done after this, I suspect it’s too early to count her out completely. There’s a lot of time left before the 2024 race truly starts, she’s a charismatic individual, and I do believe she’s still got an inside track to a vice-presidential nod. One mistake shouldn’t define her, as I do think she’s done a lot of good things. Yet, I believe this latest flub has put more distance between her and Ron DeSantis, with the latter being far more likely to gain the nomination. In other words, my reaction is mixed.
Of course, everything changes if Donald Trump decides to enter the fray anyway.